The last time I ran for office (an office I’d be occupying now if I could have attracted just 400,000 more votes) I considered this campaign slogan: “Don’t be an asshole!” I decided against it, opting instead for “It’s Finally Come to This!” Insults, I figured, probably wouldn’t have gotten me a lot of votes.
Democrats are forcing me to take another look at that political decision. Because my conscience won’t allow me to cast a vote for the Clintons, I’m advised by Dems that I’m silly, having a tantrum, exploiting my privileged status, facilitating neofascism, and an admirer of Vladimir Putin. Because of defects in my personality, they tell me, Trump will be elected president. It’s an ad hominem attack that seems to be aimed at persuading me to support their union-busting, red-baiting, war-loving, bank-financed slate of candidates. Instead of being persuaded, I’m more hostile than ever, but that’s me.
If poll-takers are to be believed, the personal attacks are working. People are embracing Clinton out of fear that they will be blamed if Trump and the Russkis prevail on election day. Because of assholes like me, same-sex marriages will be dissolved, Republicans will control both houses of Congress, the general public will become subject to deportation, and Clarence Thomas (who wouldn’t be on the Supreme Court but for the support of 11 Democratic Senators) will become Chief Justice.
Why am I willing to take the risk of being blamed for all this? Not ruling out personality disorder as a factor, I suggest I’m compelled by logic. History tells me that predictions, especially predictions of public opinion and public policy, are mostly wrong. Since the politics of fear relies principally on prediction, its practitioners are directing me to dread events that probably won’t happen.
It’s true that if Trump is elected, I’ll have to hear his inane whining from time to time for an extended period, but I dread the hoarse tones of the seducer Bill Clinton just as acutely. I will hate Trump, but I will also hate Clinton, and she brings her husband’s member back into the White House with her. Since both candidates are notorious liars and cheats, we can only guess what they will do as president, and predictions about issues like war and peace and who will sit on the federal bench are hot air. This uncertainty may be grounds for terror, but it’s illogical to suggest that one candidate is scarier than the other.
If poll-takers are wrong, as they have been on occasion, Democrats’ don’t-be-an-asshole tactic will backfire, and voters who might have been persuaded to cast a ballot for them had they heard praise for their adherence to principle will instead use the election to protest their ill treatment. Could happen. You’re welcome to blame me for it.